The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are bringing back guard Earl Watford for the team’s playoff run. The Bucs announced the move as they placed starting guard Alex Cappa on injured reserve opening up a spot for Watford on the active roster. Signing Watford gives the Buccaneers a bit of depth as they look to protect Tom Brady in the postseason.
Watford played in 15 games and started four contests last season for the Buccaneers. Earlier this week, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians discussed what Watford brings to the team’s postseason roster.
“He can walk in any play four positions for us,” Arians said, per Buccaneers.com. “[We’ll] just get him back in a little bit of football shape; he stayed in pretty good condition. Just like [with] Ted Larsen – guys that have been in this system for a while, veteran players – when you lose a guy, you try to look for veteran players rather than young guys who might not be ready.”
Cappa Tried to Play Through a Broken Ankle
With Cappa heading to the injured list, the Bucs will be without their starting guard for the remainder of the playoffs. Brady indicated Cappa tried to play through a broken ankle against Washington.
“#GoBucs QB Tom Brady says G Alex Cappa didn’t make any sound when he broke his ankle Sat,” Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud noted on Twitter. “Said he planned to keep playing until he couldn’t put any weight on it.”
Watford had a brief stint on the Patriots practice squad this season but was on the team for less than a month in December before being released. The guard previously spent time with the Cardinals and Browns in addition to the Bucs. Brady praised Cappa’s toughness throughout the season describing the offensive lineman as a “tough, hard-nosed football player.”
[He’s] one of the tough guys we’ve had on our team,” Brady noted, via Buccaneers.com. “We’ve had a really great group up front, [including] guys who have filled in at different times. ‘Cap’ has been there really the whole year, had a tremendous year. [He’s] a tough, hard-nosed football player.”
Stinnie Is ‘More Than Ready to Play’
The loss of Cappa will be a key storyline to watch against the Saints who have one of the top defenses in the NFL. Arians does not appear concerned about Aaron Stinnie making his first NFL start for the Bucs in his third season in the league.
“Alex has a fracture, so he’ll be out,” Arians noted, per USA Today. “Aaron Stinnie will start. He’s done a good job for us, so he’s more than ready to play.”
Tampa Bay will be looking to do something they have not been able to do this season: beat New Orleans. The Buccaneers lost both regular-season matchups including a 38-3 blowout most recently in November. Brady believes there is a reason to think things can be different for the Bucs this time around.
“I think we’ve certainly come a long way,” Brady explained, via Buccaneers.com. “I think we’re just going to keep improving. The more we’re together, the more we’re talking about football, the more we’re trying to be on the same page, the better it is. It’s a complex game – there’s a lot of moving parts [and] there’s a lot of coordination involved between a lot of different positions. I think the quarterback-receiver relationship is really important.”